Nov 27, 2019

Mexico reacts to Trump's vow to mark Mexican drug cartels as terrorists

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and President Donald Trump. Photos: Pedro Pardo/AFP and Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico's foreign secretary, said Wednesday that he is in contact with the U.S. government following President Trump's announced plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

What they're saying: Mexico's president characterized Trump's proposal as "interventionism" on Wednesday, emphasizing that he wanted to "avoid a political conflict," per the Washington Post. Ebrard tweeted that "Mexico will never accept any action that violates our national sovereignty," on Tuesday, following Trump's announcement.

How it works: Cartels labeled as terrorist organizations would be subject to special sanctions and increased scrutiny, which could apply to any institutions dealing with the cartel, including banks or government agencies, per the Post.

The big picture: Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush both weighed labelling Mexican drug cartels as terrorists, a former Mexican ambassador told the Post, but "backed down" after "they realized the economic and trade implications it would have on U.S.-Mexican ties."

Go deeper: Trump vows to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror organizations

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Trump halts plan to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorists

President Trump on Dec. 06 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that the U.S. will "temporarily hold off" on designating Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations.

The big picture: Trump's vow to re-label Mexican drug cartels in November prompted Mexico's president to characterize the proposal as "interventionism." The Mexican foreign secretary said last month he got in contact with the U.S. government over the proposal. Trump added on Friday that he was halting the decision at President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's request.

Go deeperArrowDec 7, 2019

At least 19 dead in Mexico after police shootout with suspected cartel members

A Mexican Federal Police officer guards an international bridge between Mexico and Texas, Feb. 10. Photo: JCA/AFP via Getty Images

At least 19 people are dead after an hour-long gunfight between Mexican security forces and suspected cartel gunmen broke out on Saturday in Villa Union, a town in Coahuila state about an hour’s drive southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The attack comes days after President Trump said in an interview that he plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 1, 2019

Trump vows to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror organizations

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

President Trump told Bill O'Reilly in an interview broadcast Tuesday that he plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations after they killed Americans in Mexico.

Why it matters: Trump's remarks to O'Reilly that he would act because "we are losing 100,000 people a year to what is happening and what is coming through on Mexico" mark a shift in U.S. policy that's sent Mexican officials scrambling.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019